In early October members of the Memorial University community participated in a significant event on our St. John’s campus. Together with students, provincial government partners and the relatives of three people who served during the First World War, we named a new student residence facility. Macpherson College, the 500-bed complex, was completed and its Cluett and Shiwak Halls fully occupied by the first residents in early 2014. In Corner Brook, a new 200-bed student residence complex on Grenfell Campus was also officially opened. Both complexes meet the latest environmental building standards and feature the latest in technology.
These are just two examples of how, across all our campuses, we are focused on meeting the needs of students, developing innovative living and learning spaces, and creating appropriate infrastructure for 21st century teaching, research and public engagement. Our latest infrastructure renewal efforts across Memorial include $125 million worth of recently completed projects, with another $525 million in projects underway.
Our three frameworks — teaching and learning, research and public engagement — guide the university’s development. Those frameworks are being brought to life by a number of operational plans including: the strategic research intensity plan; the enrolment plan; the internationalization plan and the infrastructure plan. Additionally, we are committed to an ongoing process of operations and budget review that will allow us to say with confidence and certainty that we are using our resources to advance our most important priorities.
We also appreciate that Memorial’s operations and resources have many impacts beyond our campuses. As the province’s only university, Memorial is a significant contributor to the province’s economy. In late 2013 the university’s Office of Public Engagement commissioned an economic impact study so that we would have a current view of that impact. The final report, completed by Dr. Wade Locke and Prof. Scott Lynch in the Collaborative Applied Research in Economics initiative (CARE) team, will be released later in 2014 but an early draft paints an impressive picture. While economic impact isn’t part of the mandate of a university or the goal driving our activities, the study does show that investments in post-secondary education are investments yielding benefits that extend well beyond the students who sit in classrooms today.
It’s been a busy and exciting year at Memorial, with far more happening than this brief message can capture. That’s why I encourage you to explore the rest of Face Forward, and take a look at the milestones that marked the year just past.